epidemic myositis

Chronic fatigue syndrome outbreaks

There have been over fifty documented outbreaks of a disease that was identified as myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. This has led to the belief among some researchers and patient groups that the illness is, at least in its initial forms, a contagious virus or triggered by one or more such viruses. The history of chronic fatigue syndrome has resulted in a wide variety of names being used to describe the condition.

Outbreaks in chronological order


  • Los Angeles County Hospital

198 people infected, including all doctors and nurses


  • St Anges Convent, Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin

Referred to as Encephalitis
53 people infected, all novices and convent candidates


  • Erstfeld, Switzerland and Frohburg, Switzerland

Referred to as Abortive Poliomyelitis
158 people infected


  • Harefield Sanatorium in Middlesex, England

Referrred to as "Persitent myalgia following sore throat"
7 hospital staff infected

  • Switzerland

Referred to as Abortive Poliomyelitis
73 soldiers infected


  • University Hospital of Pennsylvania

Referred to as "pleurodynia with prominent neurological symptoms and no demonstrable cause"


  • Iceland in 1946 and 1947

Referred to as "Mixed epidemics of poliomyelitis and a disease resembling poliomyelitis with the character of the Akureyri Disease"


  • Three north coast towns in Iceland in 1948-1949

Referred to as "A disease epidemic in Iceland simulating Poliomyelitis"
1090 people infected


  • Adelaide, South Australia in 1949-1951

Referred to as resembling poliomyelitis.
800 people infected


  • Louisville, Kentuky in 1950

Later confirmed as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia.
37 nursing students infected

  • Upper New York State

Referred to as resembling Iceland Disease simulating Acute Anterior Poliomyelitis.
19 people infected


  • Middlesex Hospital Nurse's Home in London, England, 1952

Referred to as Encephalomyelitis associated with Poliomyelitis Virus
14 nursing students infected

  • Copenhagen, Denmark

Referred to as Epidemic Myositis
More than 70 people infected

  • Lakeland, Florida

Identified as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia
27 people infected


  • Coventry District, England

Referred to as "An illness resembling Poliomyelitis"
13 people infected

  • Rockville, Maryland at Chestnut Lodge Hospital

referred to as Poliomyelitis-like Epidemic Neuromyasthenia.
50 people infected

  • Jutland, Denmark

referred to as "Epidemic Encephalitis with Vertigo."


  • Tallahassee, Florida

450 people infected

  • Seward, Alaska

Referred to as Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Iceland Disease)
175 people infected

  • British Army stationed in Berlin, Germany

Referred to as a \"further outbreak of a disease resembling poliomyelitis.\"
7 people infected

  • Johannesburg, South Africa, through 1955

14 people infected


  • London, England at the Royal Free Hospital

Responsible for the terms Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
300 hospital staff infected

  • Durban City, South Africa at Addington Hospital

Referred to as \"The Durban Mystery Disease\"
140 people infected


  • Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States

Referred to as an epidemic of neuromyasthenia
70 people infected

  • Punta Gorda, Florida, United States

Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia
124 people infected

  • Coventry, England through 1957

Referred to as Epidemic Malaise and Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
7 people infected


  • Athens, Greece, in a nursing school

27 nursing students infected


200 hospital staff infected


  • West Otago, New Zealand through 1984

Referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
More than 20 people infected


  • Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia

Referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis


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